Conservatives lying about Obama and gun control

October 30, 2008

Lies, lies, lies. That’s all the Republicans and conservatives are doing these days in regards to Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. They’re desperate, and they’re doing anything they can to scare the American people into voting against him. It’s terrible. The Democrats have never resorted to such despicable tactics when it looked like they were losing in 2000 and 2004. And the Republicans never did it when they losing to Clinton back in 1992 and 1996. So, you have to ask yourself why are they spreading so much dirt and vile filth around in the final days of the campaign. Could it be because Obama is black? You really have to wonder if they would be saying this stuff if Obama was white? I talked to a woman yesterday who said that Obama was evil, anti-Christian and anti-American. She said she only watches Fox and listens only to talk-radio. So, we know were she’s getting this stuff. It’s just wrong to be spewing such hatred. The America I know and love tolerates people with different views on things. But not these guys. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being opposed to Obama’s policies but how can you call him evil? Is there no end to the craziness?

A good example is this e-mail I received yesterday. This guys says that “Obama is not only opposed to right-to-carry permits for law-abiding gun owners, but has also endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership. Now come on. This guy has to know better. Read the e-mail, then read a story below from the Chicago Tribune. Nowhere does it say that Obama has endorsed a complete ban on handguns. It’s just a big, boldfaced lie. And to think that these people call themselves Christians when they’re launching the biggest hate campaign in the history of American politics. Well, they will have to face their Maker some day and answer for these awful attacks. Read both the e-mail and the story and come to your own conclusion. And may God help us all no matter who’s elected because we’re going to need it after this offensive, un-American campaign being waged by the Republicans and conservatives.

Democrats Should Fear the ‘Brady Effect’ As seen to day on

While many politicians and pundits of varying political persuasions have come to learn that the power of gun owners, hunters, sportsmen and freedom advocates cannot be ignored on Election Day – hardcore Liberals have a more difficult time facing reality. It is much easier for them to cry “racism” than swallow the truth.

The truth for them this time around is that Barack Obama is the most rabid anti-Second Amendment candidate to ever run for the U.S. presidency. Obama is not only opposed to right-to-carry permits for law-abiding gun owners, but has also endorsed a complete ban on handgun ownership.

The inconvenient truth facing Obama supporters is that gun ownership is strong in the U.S. Roughly half of all American households own at least one gun, and according to an ATI-News/Zogby poll of likely voters, gun owners favor McCain over Obama by a more than 2 – 1 margin – 62 to 29 percent.

Posted September 5, 2008 1:49 PM/news/politics/blog//news/politics/blog/

by James Oliphant

DURYEA, Pa.–At a campaign event here Friday, Barack Obama ran headlong into the one of the issues that dogs him in this battleground state.

“There are rumors going around that . . . you’re going to take away our guns,” said Joan O’Neil, a resident of tiny Susquehanna in northeastern Pennsylvania, a big-time area for hunting.

This gun issue that Obama has tried to deftly navigate throughout this long campaign and one that damaged

him here in his primary fight with Hillary Clinton. And it’s one that could do even him even further harm in the general election, as he is matched against a pro-gun ticket that includes a vice-presidential nominee who has been photographed firing an assault rifle.And indeed, several of the dozens of plant workers invited to Obama’s economic “town hall” here in this town outside of Scranton, Pa. nodded as the question was asked. Pennsylvania has the highest per capita rate of National Rifle Association members in the nation.

“I believe in the Second Amendment, and if you are a law-abiding gun owner you have nothing to fear from an Obama administration,” Obama said. “This has been peddled again and again. Here’s what I believe: The Second Amendment is an indvidual right. . . people have the right to bear arms. But I also believe there is nothing wrong with some common-sense gun safety measures.”

As examples, Obama listed background checks and providing cities with federal gun trace data that would allow them to go after dealers that sell guns illegally.

“That kind of thing is common sense and has nothing to do with the guy who has got his rifle and wants to go hunting,” Obama said. “Now the NRA — I’ll be honest and I’m sure there are NRA members here — their general attitude is that we don’t want anything, and if you even breathe the words ‘gun control’ or ‘gun safety’ then you must want to take away everybody’s guns. Well, that’s just not true.”

At the campaign event Friday, Obama said that there are “two realities about guns” in the United States, one including lawful gun owners, hunters, and sportsmen and a second that involves the flow of illegal handguns and automatic weapons into cities such as Philadelphia, where they are used by “teenage gang-bangers.”

“Surely, we can come up with a system that protects lawful gun-owners, but at the same time tries to do something about kids getting shot,” he said. “That is, I think, the job of the president is to reconcile this tradition of gun ownership in this country, with some basic public safety concerns.

“The bottom line is this: You got a rifle, you got a shotgun, you got a gun in your house, I’m not taking it away,” Obama said. “They can keep on talking about it, but it’s just not true.”

In the end, Obama told the group, that if voters believe he can help them on economic issues such as health care, energy and education, “this can’t be the reason not to vote for me. This can’t be the reason not to vote. Your guns, we’re not going to mess with them.”

O’Neil said afterward that being able to keep their guns for hunting was the biggest concern residents in her town have about Obama. “The important thing is that people understand that they can keep their guns and they can use their guns,” she said.


Bids for Palin’s pipeline questioned

October 26, 2008

More bad news for Republican President candidate John McCain in his bid to become the nation’s next chief executive.

Turns out that Gov. Sarah Palin’s signature accomplishment _ a contract to build a 1,715-mile pipeline to bring natural gas from Alaska to the Lower 48 _ emerged from a flawed bidding process that narrowed the field to a company with ties to her administration, according to a story by Associated Press.

It’s received little play in the national media but this should be something that all Americans look into. Beginning at the Republican National Convention in August, the McCain-Palin ticket has touted the pipeline as an example of how it would help America achieve energy independence.

Despite Palin’s boast of a smart and fair bidding process, the AP found that her team crafted terms that favored only a few independent pipeline companies and ultimately benefited the winner, TransCanada Corp.

And contrary to the ballyhoo, there’s no guarantee the pipeline will ever be built; at a minimum, any project is years away, as TransCanada must first overcome major financial and regulatory hurdles.

In interviews and a review of records, the AP found:

_Instead of creating a process that would attract many potential builders, Palin slanted the terms away from an important group _ the global energy giants that own the rights to the gas.

_Despite promises and legal guidance not to talk directly with potential bidders, Palin had meetings or phone calls with nearly every major candidate, including TransCanada.

_The leader of Palin’s pipeline team had been a partner at a lobbying firm where she worked on behalf of a TransCanada subsidiary. Also, that woman’s former business partner at the lobbying firm was TransCanada’s lead private lobbyist on the pipeline deal. Plus, a former TransCanada executive served as an outside consultant to Palin’s pipeline team.

_Under a different set of rules four years earlier, TransCanada had offered to build the pipeline without a state subsidy; under Palin, the company could receive a maximum $500 million.

“Governor Palin held firmly to her fundamental belief that Alaska could best serve Alaskans and the nation’s interests by pursuing a competitive approach to building a natural gas pipeline,” said McCain-Palin spokesman Taylor Griffin. “There was an open and transparent process that subjected the decision to extensive public scrutiny and due diligence.”

There were never more than a few players that could execute such a complex undertaking _ at least a million tons of steel stretching across some of Earth’s most hostile and remote terrain.

TransCanada estimates it will cost $26 billion; Palin’s consultants estimate nearly $40 billion.

The pipeline would run from Alaska’s North Slope to Alberta in Canada; secondary lines would take the gas to various points in the United States and Canada.

Building such a pipeline had been a dream for decades. The rising cost and demand for energy injected new urgency into the proposal.

When Palin was elected governor two years ago, she vowed to take on Exxon Mobil Corp., ConocoPhillips and BP, the multinational energy companies that long dominated the state’s biggest industry.

Palin ousted fellow Republican Gov. Frank Murkowski, who negotiated a secret pipeline deal with the “Big Three” energy companies. That deal went nowhere.

The new governor tackled the pipeline issue with gusto, meeting with representatives from all sides and assembling her own team of experts to draw up terms.

Palin invited bidders to submit applications and offered the multimillion-dollar subsidy. Members of her team say that without the incentive, it might not have received any bids for the risky undertaking.

Palin’s team was led by Marty Rutherford, a widely respected energy specialist and veteran of state government. Rutherford solidified her status when, in 2005, she joined an exodus of Department of Natural Resources staff who felt former Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski was selling out to the oil giants.

What the Palin administration neglected to mention in its announcement of Rutherford’s appointment was that in 2003, Rutherford left public service and worked for 10 months at the Anchorage-based Jade North lobbying firm. There she did $40,200 worth of work for Foothills Pipe Lines Alaska, Inc., a subsidiary of TransCanada.

Foothills Pipe Lines Alaska Inc. paid Rutherford for expertise on topics including state legislation and funding related to gas commercialization, according to her 2003 lobbyist registration statement.

Palin has said she wasn’t bothered by that past work because it had occurred several years before. But Rutherford wouldn’t have passed her new boss’ own standards: Under ethics reforms the governor pushed through, Rutherford would have had to wait a year to jump from government service to a lobbying firm.

Rutherford also has downplayed her work for Foothills.

“I did a couple of projects for them, small projects,” she told a state Senate committee examining the TransCanada bid earlier this year. While a partner, Rutherford said, she “realized that my heart was not in the private sector, it was in the public sector.”

At one point, Palin’s pipeline team debated Rutherford’s role, but concluded there was no problem, said Revenue Department Commissioner Pat Galvin, another team member.

Patricia Bielawski, Rutherford’s former partner at Jade North, spent last summer in Juneau, the state capital, serving as TransCanada’s lead private lobbyist. While the Legislature debated _ and ultimately approved _ the TransCanada deal, Bielawski met with lawmakers and sat in on the public proceedings, several legislators said.

Bielawski told AP that Rutherford never directly lobbied the Legislature for Foothills, and that Rutherford broke no rules.

But others say it’s a legitimate question.

“I’m not saying someone’s getting paid off for a sweetheart contract, but it’s very hard to ignore that this is your former partner and your former client standing there before you,” said Republican Sen. Lyda Green, a Palin critic who in August voted against awarding TransCanada the license.

Tony Palmer, the TransCanada vice president who leads the company’s Alaska gas pipeline effort, rejects the suggestion that his company benefited.

“We have gained clearly no advantage from anything that Ms. Rutherford did for Foothills some five years ago on a very much unrelated topic,” he said.

Rutherford did not respond to interview requests. But McCain-Palin spokesman Griffin said Rutherford “had no decision-making role or authority,” and contended that such matters were handled by others on the Palin pipeline team.

TransCanada also had a connection to the team hired by the Palin administration to analyze the bid. Patrick Anderson, a former TransCanada executive, served as an outside consultant.

In January 2007, Palin spoke the first of at least two times to Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush administration’s point person on energy issues, according to calendars obtained by the AP. Cheney’s staff pressed the Palin administration to draw in the energy companies, said current and former state officials involved in those discussions.

As the governor’s approach unfolded in the spring of 2007, Palin said she saw problems if the firms that own the gas also owned the pipeline. They could manipulate the market or charge prohibitive fees to smaller exploration firms, discouraging competition.

Several important requirements in the legislation were unpalatable to the big oil companies. In the talks under Murkowski, the firms asked that the rates for the gas production tax and royalties be fixed for 45 years; Palin refused to consider setting rates for that long.

Under her process, pipeline firms had an advantage because they simply pass along taxes paid by oil and gas producers.

Oil company officials warned lawmakers they wouldn’t participate under those terms. Still, in a near unanimous vote, the Legislature passed the Alaska Gasline Inducement Act in May 2007, as generally written by Palin’s pipeline team.

Once the state issued its request for proposals on July 2, 2007, the level of communication between the government and potential bidders was supposed to decrease drastically. State lawyers advised public officials to keep their distance, and bidders were told to submit questions on a public Web site.

But Palin had conversations with executives at most of the major potential bidders during that period, according to her calendars, which indicate that the pipeline was the subject of the discussions, or that the conversations occurred immediately after a briefing with Palin’s pipeline team.

TransCanada’s Palmer described communication with state officials as nonexistent.

According to the governor’s official schedule, however, Palin called TransCanada President and CEO Hal Kvisle on Aug. 8, 2007. Palmer said the call was to clarify the bidding process.

Griffin said that in keeping with legal guidance, Palin never spoke in any of the meetings about the competitive bidding process.

By the Nov. 30 submission deadline, there were five applications. But the state disqualified four for failing to satisfy the bill’s requirements.

That left TransCanada.

The Canadian giant had been pursuing an Alaska pipeline since at least 2004, when the company negotiated a deal with Rutherford that the state ended up shelving. While the details remain confidential, six people familiar with the terms told the AP that TransCanada was willing to do the work then without the large state subsidy.

In testimony this July before the state Senate, Rutherford described the 2004 deal as presenting different trade-offs.

Others who reviewed the deal think much of the $500 million will be wasted money.

“Most definitely TransCanada got a sweetheart deal this time,” said Republican Sen. Bert Stedman, who voted against the TransCanada license. “Where else could you get a $500 million reimbursement when you don’t even have the financing to build the pipeline?”


Beware of the Bengals

October 18, 2008

The Steelers (4-1) certainly seem to have everything going for them as they take on the winless Cincinnati Bengals Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.

After all, the Bengals will be without their starting quarterback Carson Palmer leaving inexperienced Harvard graduate Ryan Fitzpatrick to take his place.

Furthemore, the Steelers have won their last seven games in Cincinnati, including a 2005 playoff victory when Bengals quarterback Carson Palmer got his knee torn up.

Plus Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who got a chance to rest his sore passing shoulder during Pittsburgh’s bye week should have a little more zip on his throws.

And he’s never had a bad day back home.

Roethlisberger learned to play quarterback at Findlay High School, nestled in the heart of Cleveland Browns country. He refined his uncanny ability to avoid tackles at Miami University, less than an hour’s drive from the Bengals’ stadium. Then he got drafted by the Steelers, the biggest out-of-state rival for both Ohio teams.

He’s played in Cleveland and Cincinnati 10 times with the Steelers. He’s a perfect 10-for-10.

“It’s coming home,” Roethlisberger told the Associated Press. “I always know there is going to be a lot of friends and family. People I grew up with were always Browns and Bengals fans, so it’s always a little sweeter to try to come and get a win. There’s something nice about playing in the state of Ohio.”

Still there is some concern for good reason among the Black and Gold faithful.

The Steelers will be without three starters, left tackle Marvel Smith, nose tackle Casey Hampton and most importantly running back Willie Pakers.

Some have noted that the Bengals haven’t played as bad their record indicates, losing in overtime to the World Champion New York Giants and losing a close game to the Dallas Cowboys. Actually, the Bengals defense has been solid. It’s on offense that the Bengals have had their most problems, but they still have talented receivers Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on their roster.

However, most importantly consider this is the NFL and the Steelers would be wise to remember last weekend when the lowly St. Louis Rams and Cleveland Browns upset the powerful Washington Redskins and New York Giants respectively.

You know there’s nothing the Bengals would like to do more than to beat the Steelers so they’ll be fired up. Let’s hope the Steelers aren’t looking for an easy win. I think they’ll come away with a victory but it will be anything but easy.


When will McCain stop lying?

October 18, 2008

Where will it end?

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain used to have a record for being honest and candid. In fact, he called his campaign bus, “The Straight Talk Express.” and he was generally respected for his truthfulness in telling it like it is.

But ever since being nominated by the GOP as its presidential candidate, McCain has told one whopper of a lie after another, tearing his good reputation to shreds.

Consider his latest just bold outright lie. How he can tell it with a straight face is beyond anyone with any sense of decency and integrity.

His latest lie concerns the famous “Joe the plumber.” In case you’re not familiar with the background here’s what happened. Joe Wurzelbacher came up to Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama and lamented that he wouldn’t be able to buy his boss’ business because of Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on people making over $250,000.

McCain tried to make political hay over his comment, posting a video of the exchange on his campaign Web site and mentioning “Joe the Plumber” 21 times in his debate with Obama during their debate Wednesday night.

But as usual it turned out the McCain campaign hadn’t done its homework on Joe Wurzelbacher, and basically his comments were a terrible lie. Turns out that Joe Wurzelbacher wasn’t even a licensed plumber, made only $40,000 last year and had no plans at all to buy his boss’ business. And in fact he was behind on paying his taxes.

And after the press began to investigate Joe Wurzelbacher, his life was turned into a media circus. But who was to blame? Obviously it was McCain. If he had even bothered a little to look into Joe Wurzelbacher’s story, he would have seen that it obviously came up short in the truth department.

Or if he had just let it go, the press wouldn’t have begun to investigate Joe Wurzelbacher and that would have been the end of it.

But no John McCain was determined to bring Joe Wurzelbacher into his campaign.

So, does McCain apologize to Joe Wurzelbacher? Of course not. That would too much to ask of a Republican presidential candidate. Never let the facts get in the way of a vicious attack job has been their mantra for the last 40 years.

No, of course McCain tries to blame Obama. According to Associated Press, McCain, claimed Friday that “the response from Sen. Obama and his campaign yesterday was to attack Joe.”

In fact, Obama, his running mate Joe Biden and their campaign have barely mentioned Wurzelbacher. Obama and Biden only attacked McCain for portraying Wurzelbacher as representative of most blue-collar workers, asking how many plumbers make $250,000 a year.

It certainly cemented McCain’s reputation for being out of touch and possibly senile in the eyes of most American voters.

Nonetheless, according to Associated Press, McCain elicited boos from a fired-up crowd Friday when he said of Wurzelbacher, “People are digging through his personal life and he has TV crews camped out in front of his house. He didn’t ask Sen. Obama to come to his house. He wasn’t recruited or prompted by our campaign. He just asked a question. And Americans ought to be able to ask Sen. Obama tough questions without being smeared and targeted with political attacks.”

Now McCain has to know better. He has to know the Obama had nothing to do with the press investigating Joe Wurzelbacher. It was a legitimate inquiry into something that McCain had brought up in the campaign. And if his claim was true, it could have helped McCain. But it was a big flat lie and it blew up in McCain’s face. And now McCain has to blast the media for doing its job and Obama somehow, someway even if he has to lie to do it.

It’s just another pathetic, desperate attack from a candidate who’s steadily losing ground in the polls because of such lies and will do anything and say anything to try and get back in the race. 

But in doing so, McCain is not only losing the election, he’s also losing somethng more important, his reputation.



McCain screws up again

October 17, 2008

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain just can’t catch a break in his battle against Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama.

According to Associated Press, Samuel J. Wurzelbacher, a self-described conservative, had spoken to Obama at a rally Sunday near his home and asked him whether his tax plan would keep him from buying the business that currently employs him, which earns more than $250,000 a year.

“Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn’t it?” Wurzelbacher asked.

Obama said that under his proposal taxes on any revenue from $250,000 on down would stay the same, but that amounts above that level would be subject to a 39 percent tax, instead of the current 36 percent rate.

The McCain campaign posted a Web ad featuring the exchange between Wurzelbacher and Obama with McCain claiming that Obama’s plan would stop entrepreneurs such as Wurzelbacher from investing in new small businesses and keep existing ones from growing.

And during Wednesday’s debate, McCain repeatedly referred to Wurzelbacher during the debate as he blasted Obama for his proposed tax policies.

But then came word Thursday that Wurzelbacher didn’t even have a license to be a plumber and owes nearly $1,200 in back taxes.

According to Associated Press, Wurzelbacher instantly became a media celebrity, fielding calls during the debate and facing reporters outside his home near Toledo on Thursday morning for an impromptu nationally televised news conference.

The burly, bald man acknowledged he doesn’t have a plumber’s license, but said he didn’t need one because he works for someone else at a company that does residential work.

But Wurzelbacher still would need to be a licensed apprentice or journeyman to work in Toledo, and he’s not, said David Golis, manager and residential building official for the Toledo Division of Building Inspection.

State and local records show Wurzelbacher has no license, although his employer does. Golis said there are no records of inspectors citing Wurzelbacher for unlicensed work in Toledo.

And then there was the matter of his taxes.

Wurzelbacher owes the state of Ohio $1,182.98 in personal income tax, according to Lucas County Court of Common Pleas records.

In January 2007, Ohio’s Department of Taxation filed a claim on his property until he pays the debt, according to the records. The lien remains active.

Leaning against his black Dodge Durango SUV, Wurzelbacher at first was amused by it all, then overwhelmed and finally a little annoyed.

“I don’t have a lot of pull. It’s not like I’m Matt Damon,” he said “I just hope I’m not making too much of a fool of myself.”

Meanwhile, Obama said McCain was misleading voters by proposing tax plans that favor the rich while criticizing an Obama tax plan that would raise taxes only on people making more than $250,000 a year, just 5 percent of all taxpayers.

“He’s trying to suggest that a plumber is the guy he’s fighting for,” Obama said. “How many plumbers you know that are making a quarter-million dollars a year?”

Wurzelbacher said he felt a bit overwhelmed by all the attention.

“I’m kind of like Britney Spears having a headache. Everybody wants to know about it,” he joked.

During an afternoon taping of “Late Show with David Letterman,” McCain said he had not yet spoken to Wurzelbacher, and apologized for the press attention he had received.

“Joe, if you’re watching, I’m sorry,” McCain said.

Well, McCain should feel sorry for making a spectacle of Wurzelbacher and  should apologize to him. But he should also further apologize to the American people for trying to fool them by trying to make the guy a symbol of something he’s clearly not.  It’s just another pathetic campaign stunt that backfired on McCain for good reason.

Steelers in good shape

October 12, 2008

The Steelers arrive at the bye week with a 4-1 lead and a three-game lead on the Baltimore Ravens in the AFC North.

It’s about as good as anyone could have wished for, especialy considering all the injuries they’ve had to deal with.

Still, the Steelers have a very demanding schedule with eight of their 11 games remaining coming against legitimate playoff contenders.

But it figures that 10 games should be enough to win the AFC North so the Steelers only have to go 6-5 the rest of the way to make the playoffs.

Figuring that the Steelers can beat the winless Bengals twice and the Browns at home, that means the Steelers have to win 3 of those 8 games against legitimate playoff contenders to win 10 games.

So, of those 8 games, the games against the teams from the NFC North, Giants, 5-0; Redskins 4-2; and Cowboys , 4-2; will probably be the toughest. Luckily for the Steelers they have the Giants and Cowboys at home while they have to travel to Washington for a game with the surprising Redskins.

Then, they have two tough games on the road against the Ravens (2-3) and Titans (5-0). Unfortunately they will come back to back in games 14 and 15. Perhaps the Titans will have come back to earth by then but it still figures to be a tough game.

But the Steelers could lose all five of the those games if they win their other three games against the Chargers, 3-2; Colts, 3-2; and Patriots, 3-2. At the beginning of the season that would have seemed unthinkable, but all they three teams have struggled so far. And they play the Chargers and Colts at home. They have to play the Patriots on the road but with no Tom Brady, you have to think this could be the year we come away with a big win there.

So, it looks to be a formidable schedule but one that’s not impossible. And if the Steelers can make the playoffs, who knows what can happen. All Steeler fans remember 2005 when we made the playoffs as a wild card team and went on to win the Super Bowl.

What was this minister saying?

October 12, 2008

Republican Presidential candidate John McCain’s attempt to elevate his campaign might be harder than expected, hearing comments from some of the folks around him.

Consider the Rev. Arnold Conrad, past pastor of the Grace Evangelical Free Church. According to Associated Press, his prayer before McCain arrived at the convention center blocks from the Mississippi River appeared to dismiss faiths other than Christianity and cast the election as a referendum on God himself.

“I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god _ whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah _ that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” Conrad said.

“And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day,” he said.

What the heck is he talking about? Everyone knows Obama is a Christian. To say otherwise is to lie, which certainly no Christian would condone. But this is exactly the type of rumors and innuendo that have come back to haunt the McCain campaign. Let’s hope McCain tries to set the Rev. Conrad straight.